Field Notes

Hot Sauce Field Guide: Sauce Ti Malice

According to Haitian folklore, there once were two friends, Bouki and Ti Malice. Everyday around lunch time, Bouki would show up at Ti Malice’s door to say hello, and Ti Malice, being a hospitable friend, would offer to share his lunch with his unexpected guest. After weeks of sharing his lunch with Bouki, Ti Malice decides to trick his mooch of a friend by preparing a dish that was doused in a very spicy hot sauce he’d made. Bouki tasted the food and loved it, shouting all over town “Try the sauce Ti Malice made for me!” The name stuck, as did Bouki’s lunch routine. In Haiti, sauce ti malice always accompanies griot, a fried pork dish. It would taste equally delicious on carnitas, or even a steak.

Yield: 2 cups

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers (a mix of red and green)
  • 3 fresh habanero chilies, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or vinegar brine from pickled peppers)

In a skillet over medium heat, add the oil. When it’s shimmering, add the onion and cook until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, bell peppers, and habaneros and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell peppers have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook until the mixture looks dry, 2 minutes. Add the vinegar to deglaze the pan, using a spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the mixture has reduce slightly. Let cool, and transfer to a container; if you prefer a smooth sauce, transfer the mixture to a blender and blend before storing.